Kyiv ( Associated Press) — The death toll from a Russian attack on an apartment building in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 40 on Monday, officials said, as Western analysts identified signs that the Kremlin may be waging a war on Ukraine. Was ready for a long war. 11 months of fighting.
Two children were among the victims of Saturday’s attack on the multi-storey residential building, and 15 other children were among the 75 injured, according to the Ukrainian national police. Police said search and rescue efforts are on. So far 39 people, including six children, have been pulled out of the debris. Apart from this, 30 people have been reported missing.
About 1,700 people lived in the multi-storey building, and neighbors said there was no military installation on the site. According to The Associated Press and Frontline’s War Crimes Watch Project, the death toll made it the deadliest attack in a single location since the September 30 bombings in Ukraine’s Zaporizhia region.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, described the attack and others like it as an “inhuman aggression” because it was directed against civilians. “There will be no impunity for these crimes,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Asked about the incident on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russian forces do not attack residential buildings and suggested the block in Dnipro may have been hit by Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire. Ukraine’s military said on Sunday it did not have the means to intercept missiles like the Russian projectile used in Saturday’s attack.
The attack was part of a major Russian cruise missile offensive at various locations in Ukraine.
Russia has resumed massive airstrikes as heavy fighting continues in the eastern province of Donetsk, where Russian forces claim to have captured the small mining town of Soledar, although Ukraine says its troops are still there. are fighting too. It was not possible to independently confirm the situation.
Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk province make up the Donbass, a vast industrial region bordering Russia that Russian President Vladimir Putin has identified as a priority since the start of the war. Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Kyiv forces in the region since 2014.
For their part, the Russian and Belarusian air forces began joint exercises in Belarus that will last until February 1, according to the Belarusian Defense Ministry. Russia sent fighter jets to Belarus for maneuvers.
The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, reported signs that the Kremlin is moving to turn its invasion of Ukraine into “a major conventional war” after months of embarrassing military setbacks.
Moscow describes the operation as “a special military operation” and aims to capture the Ukrainian capital within weeks and install a pro-Kremlin government. However, Russian forces withdrew from the Kyiv area, the study group noted. Then there was a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive in recent months, before winter halted troop progress.
“The Kremlin is preparing to take decisive strategic actions over the next six months, aimed at recapturing the initiative and ending Ukraine’s current string of operational successes,” the Institute for the Study of War said in a report on Sunday night. “
The group pointed to reports that the Russian military command is making “serious preparations” for an extended mobilization campaign that would retain already mobilized personnel for future use, as well as expand its military industrial production. And will reorganize its chain of command.
This implies that Ukraine’s Western allies “will have to continue to support Ukraine in the long term,” the center said.
In recent days, NATO member states have tried to reassure Ukraine that they will stay on their course. Britain has pledged to send tanks and the US military launched a new combat training for Ukrainian forces in Germany on Sunday.
Also on Monday, Russian forces shelled the city of Kherson and the area of the same name, killing three people and wounding 13 in the past 24 hours, according to regional governor Yaroslav Yanushevich. In the city of Kherson, shells damaged a hospital, a center for disabled children, a shipyard, critical infrastructure, and apartment buildings.
According to the regional government, Russian forces also attacked the city of Zaporizhia, damaging industrial infrastructure and injuring three people, two of whom were children.
In Sevastopol, Crimea, anti-aircraft defenses shot down a drone over the port bay, according to the port city’s head of government, Mikhail Razvozhayev.